SEMISONIC: NOT JUST A ONE-HIT WONDER
Seriously, they're good
Picture the scene. You're in a bar, and it's 3:54am. The bar staff have already rang the bell for last orders, so you're sat there nursing your final drink of the night. You've had a good night, relishing in the company of old friends, connecting with new people and enjoying a banging bar playlist. Then you hear it. That piano. It's simple, but it hooks you in. The bartender starts to flick the main lights on with a wry grin as those first lyrics kick in: "Closing time/Open up the doors and let you out into the world". In a daze, partially due to the drinks but mainly the blinding lights, you smile, you tap your fingers on the table, and you take the hint and leave the bar, unknowingly humming the tune of Semisonic's 1998 banger for days on end.
I'm gonna preface this discussion/gush by saying that you should definitely check out Todd In The Shadows' video on Semisonic and their supposed one-hit wonder status. He's quite obviously well educated on the band, himself being a fan and also being the one that opened my eyes and ears to the back catalogue of the Minnesotan trio, so I implore you to watch his video either before or after you read this.
In short, Semisonic are great! Check 'em out! They're still going! Probably touring next year, let's grab a ticket! However, I know it take more than that to convince people. Semisonic were formed from the ashes of Trip Shakespeare, a rather fun late 80s indie pop band that were one of the many casualties of the grunge boom in 1991. They have three albums under their belt, never changed band members and, again, are a lot better than people give them credit for.
"Closing Time" is in my top 20 songs of the 1990s, and for good reason too. Piano-led alternative rock can be a hard sell, especially in the post-grunge era of the mid-90s, but frontman Dan Wilson has a knack for hooks. It's so simple, yet so effective, which I'm getting sick of saying in articles at this point, but it's what the foundations of good music are built on. But let's step back and have a look at the title; they're not just a one-hit wonder. Sure, I could go on about how much I love "Closing Time" and its parallels to childbirth and new life and how Wilson crafted one of the best songs of the 90s, but that's been done. I'm here to get you onto why they are so much more than a bartender's anthem.
Take their debut album Great Divide. Giving Trip Shakespeare a listen beforehand as an appetiser, you can
Where are Semisonic now? As mentioned, Wilson has gone on to be a prolific songwriter, winning Grammys for his work with Adele and adding magic to a breathtaking roster of artists such as Taylor Swift, Mitski, Panic! At The Disco, P!nk, Dixie Chicks and, my personal faves, Weezer.